Christina Lee, Photography Editor

Update, April 2 6:30 p.m.: This story has been updated to include an interview with one of the two students arrested and information about Yale police’s dispersal orders and noise policies.

Four pro-Palestine protesters were violently arrested by Yale Police late Wednesday night on Alexander Walk.

All four protesters — including two students — were charged with trespassing and disorderly conduct, and one was charged with interfering with a police officer, a University spokesperson wrote to the News. The protesters were taken to New Haven Police headquarters for processing and have all been released as of 7:30 a.m. All the charges are misdemeanors, according to NHPD Sergeant Ameer Williams.

Photos and videos obtained by the News show Yale police officers tackling two of the four arrested protesters during a rally. Four Yale police officers — including Yale Police Chief Anthony Campbell ’95 DIV ’09 — tackled one arrestee and held them on the ground for at least 90 seconds, despite onlookers yelling concerns that the person could not breathe. A photograph taken after the arrest shows the protester with a cut and bleeding nose.

About 50 supporters of the arrested protesters, including many who attended the Wednesday night rally that preceded the arrests, gathered on the steps of NHPD headquarters in the early hours of Thursday morning. Six protest attendees described Yale Police as unnecessarily aggressive and violent while making arrests.

“YPD was abusive as fuck,” said Sun Queen, who attended the protest and co-founded Black Lives Matter New Haven.

Another arrestee was tackled by an officer who grabbed their neck before two other officers helped restrain them on the ground. Neither of the arrested protesters tackled by police were Yale students.

The News could not confirm the extent of any injuries that protesters suffered during their arrests. Campbell did not respond to multiple requests for comment on Wednesday night and Thursday morning.

“It was a melee,” Ala Ochumare, another co-founder of Black Lives Matter New Haven, said. “As those officers convened on our group, they became violent. They started grabbing folks, they started arresting them, they pinned folks in corners and were yelling at them and screaming at them.”

Craig Birckhead-Morton ’24, one of the two student protesters arrested, said that he was arrested immediately after asking a Yale police lieutenant whether protesters could disperse in front of Sterling Memorial Library.

“[The lieutenant] says to me, ‘You can do whatever you want. But now you are under arrest for disorderly conduct,” Birckhead-Mortion told the News. “This obviously was quite confusing to me, because he’s encouraging us to disperse, I’m showing my intention to disperse.”

A video obtained by the News shows Birckhead-Morton holding birthday cake — May 1 was his birthday — and then giving it up as police detained him. Another student protester wearing a marshal’s vest — often used at protests to identify individuals in charge of liaising with police and generally managing the demonstration — approached the officer arresting Birckhead-Morton to ask why he was being arrested. The video then shows police arresting the marshal while the student tried to tell officers that the protest was dispersing.

Wednesday’s demonstration began on Beinecke Plaza around 9 p.m. About 200 pro-Palestine protesters demanding that Yale disclose and divest from weapons manufacturers marched from the Plaza to University President Peter Salovey’s house on Hillhouse Avenue, where they sang and chanted messages including, “Salovey, Salovey you can’t hide, we charge you with genocide.”

Birckhead-Morton said that at Salovey’s house, he was approached by the same lieutenant who eventually arrested him. Birckhead-Morton said the lieutenant told him that the march had to leave Salovey’s house before 11 p.m. and could not disperse at Salovey’s house or the plaza, which is why protesters tried to disperse in front of Sterling.

Birckhead-Morton had already been arrested, along with 47 other protesters, by Yale police on Beinecke Plaza on April 22.

After approximately an hour at Salovey’s house, another marshal — who requested anonymity due to safety concerns — told the News that protesters marched to Yale Police headquarters at 101 Ashmun St., where they arrived around 11:15 p.m. The protesters chanted outside until Lieutenant Chris Halstead used his car radio to issue a dispersal warning, telling them they had ten minutes to clear the area in front of police headquarters or face arrest.

Three protesters with whom the News spoke as well as Halstead all said that within three minutes of that warning, protesters left the front of the building and began walking down Ashmun Street toward York Street. Halstead said that he issued the warning to get protesters to leave the area in front of the YPD building but declined to specify what prompted him to issue a dispersal warning.

Ochumare and the marshal both said that a large number of Yale police officers who had not previously been around the march began following them once they left the YPD building.

Protesters then marched to Alexander Walk and down to the intersection with Rose Walk, adjacent to the Sterling Law Building. Ochumare estimated at least 30 officers were present. The marshal said they planned to do some final chants near Beinecke Plaza and then disperse.

“Tonight was not supposed to escalate like this at all,” the marshal said. “The plan was not at all to get arrested.”

Yale’s spokesperson claimed that the protesters did not disperse after receiving “repeated warnings” from YPD. A video obtained by the News on Thursday morning shows Yale Police issuing an additional warning to protesters at 11:42 p.m. at the intersection of Alexander Walk and Rose Walk. “If you do not disperse, you will be arrested,” police said over a speaker.

Four protesters told the News that the only dispersal warning they heard was in front of YPD headquarters and that the march remained peaceful the entire time.

Earlier in the week, Dean of Yale College Pericles Lewis and Secretary and Vice President for University Life Kimberly Goff-Crews sent two emails to students reminding them that quiet hours on campus begin at 10 p.m. and that groups are prohibited from using outdoor spaces on campus after 11 p.m.

Around 11:45 p.m., protesters said that police split the crowd in half at the intersection before making the arrests.

Ochumare said that the rally was coming to a peaceful end when police began making arrests.

“We were not agitating, the organizers were actually giving orders as to how to disperse and where to go,” Ochumare said.

After being arrested, Birckhead-Morton said he was held in the back of a police car for more than an hour before being taken to NHPD headquarters, where he was kept alone in a cell until he was processed and released around 6:45 a.m. on Thursday.

Birckhead-Morton set his summons for May 8, the same date as his summons for the April 22 arrest.

Nathaniel Rosenberg is City Editor for the News. He previously served as Audience Editor, where he managed the News's newsletter content, covered cops and courts and housing and homelessness for the City Desk. Originally from Silver Spring, MD, he is a junior in Morse College majoring in history.